My wife and I both work in the NHS and I have always said that if you want to have respect for doctors, never work for them. My wife's job is on a hospital ward and she can vouch for the accuracy of Tiger Country. There are excellent performances, particularly from Ruth Everett as a naive SHO and the increasingly impressive Adam James and Henry Lloyd-Hughes (who we met on the tube less than 10 minutes after the play ended). Nina Raine has created a very entertaining look at the reality of life in a hospital and there can be no doubting the depth of her research. The only crfiticism is that the play is very episodic with little narrative thread and too many loose ends - if was like watching a middle episode of a TV soap, albeit a very superior one. - David Baxter
03 Feb 11
Nina Raineís play about the NHS at first seems like Casualty 3D on stage, but as it progresses interesting and important issues are discussed. By the end, though, Iím afraid I was left deeply depressed with genuine feelings of hopelessness (though itís only fair to say that this may in part have something to do with my disposition). What it tells us is that the NHS is a shit place to work and a shit place to be treated. The leadership and managerial skills of the doctors are prehistoric. The organisation is a shambles. Work in it or use its services at your peril. On the way home, I was congratulating myself for keeping up my increasingly exorbitant BUPA membership. It seemed very believable, though I donít know how much of it could be true. I suspect only part of it, but a significant part. To concentrate largely poor practice and experience into 120 minutes clearly exaggerates the reality. I felt like weíd thrown a shit load of money at the NHS and just made it worse.
Hampstead Theatre has been transformed to create a very realistic hospital with double-door entrances for trolleys and beds. There are projections on the walls, including images of the bits in staged operations that arenít happening but you would see if they were, which I wasnít sure were entirely necessary. The staging is very well paced and slick and the performances are all good. As theatre, it is to be admired, but for me it just presents the problems and issues without any discussion of the reasons and possible solutions Ė hence the hopelessness. I donít regret going, though maybe I went on the wrong night. It held my attention, it certainly made me think, I admired the stagecraft and acting, but the lasting feeling will still be hopelessness. - Gareth James
02 Feb 11
This is what would happen if something like Casualty was wonderfully well written, about various topics that intrests us all from horoscopes to gender politics and was absolutely perfectly cast. I was engrossed, Raine does a brilliant job directing her own work with pace, style and tension. The casting was pitch perfect with really top notch performances from Adam James and Henry Lloyd-Hughes - Zoe
28 Jan 11
This is exactly what the critics say it isn't, moribund, terminal, soap-opera. The women bust balls and the men have "feelings", while we learn nothing new about Hospitals, the NHS, life the universe or anything much at all. The production in the round also makes for a lot of looking at backs and straining to hear. Great acting of course and really good music. - Joesmith
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